WWII veterans meet again in Winteron
Cormorant helicopter arrives for Remembrance Day assembly at Perlwin Elementary
Rev. Wesley Oake and John Pinhorn know all too well the horrors of combat. The two men fought for Allied Forces in the Second World War as part of an artillery regiment. Last week, the two men managed to meet up when search-andrescue personnel from 9 Wing Gander dropped by Perlwin Elementary in a Cormorant helicopter for the Winterton school’s Remembrance Day assembly.
Two Newfoundlanders enlisted in the same artillery regiment during the Second World War reunited last Tuesday in Winterton, Trinity Bay.
After the Cormorant helicopter from 103 Search and Rescue Squadron 9 Wing Gander landed on the ball field, Rev. Wesley Oake exited the aircraft to meet his old friend, Winterton’s John Pinhorn.
Over 70 years ago, Wesley and John served with the 166th Royal Newfoundland Artillery Regiment. They trained in England and were also in North Africa before taking part in the invasion of Italy. Their regiment contributed to the Battle of Monte Cassino, a deadly campaign that resulted in tens-of-thousands of casualties for both Allied and German forces.
“We were there together. We fought together,” Wesley told The Compass, seated in a vehicle while school children took turns exploring the helicopter’s interior.
It’s rare these days to find two men in their mid-90s who can still serve as a link to such horrific events as those that played out over the course of a six-year war.
“It brings too many memories to us,” said Wesley, who was born on the island of Beaumont in Green Bay and lives in Gander. “The 166 Newfoundland Field Regiment Royal Artillery was a family, and we were together.”
According to John, whose grandson Jim is the commanding officer for 103 Squadron, there were over 1,000 members
It brings too many memories to us. The 166 Newfoundland Field Regiment Royal Artillery was a family, and we were together. Rev. Wesley Oake
of the 166th Regiment. Today, Wesley reckons there are less than a dozen surviving members of that group.
Perlwin Elementary held its Remembrance Day assembly Tuesday, with several representatives from 103 Squadron joining the students and members of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 23 in Carbonear.
For years, Wesley has visited schools like Perlwin, where he was scheduled to speak Tuesday. He’s always impressed by how interested students are.
“What amazes me about that in their generation is how intelligent they are and the intelligent questions they ask,” he said. “They know, as I tell them, that it’s their responsibility to see that there are no more wars.”
John Pinhorn, left, and Rev. Wesley Oake pose in front of a Cormorant helicopter on the ball field in Winterton.
From the left, Perlwin Elementary students Erin Reid, Emily Doroucher, Ashton Ivany and Blake Coates test out the passenger seats on a Cormorant helicopter.
Children from Perlwin Elementary took turns on Nov. 8 checking out the helicopter visiting from 9 Wing Gander.
Sophia Bishop takes a peek out one of the windows of the Cormorant helicopter that came to Winterton last Tuesday.